Piano - songwriting

How to Create Interesting Moments Within Strong Chord Progressions

There are songwriters that like to use complex progressions that really take us on an intricate musical journey. But the fact is that most of the time, particularly in popular music genres (pop, country, folk, etc.), chord progressions are largely predictable. No songwriter I know likes to use the word “predictable” in describing any aspect […]

Imogen Heap

Grabbing Attention In Pop Songwriting

When songs are boring to audiences, don’t expect them to be able to say exactly why they’re bored. Most people can say what they like about a good song, but are less able to say specifically what isn’t working about a bad one. When a song sounds boring, it simply means that little or nothing […]

Singer-Songwriter

Making Use of Musical Ambiguity in Your Songwriting

There is a pattern you’ll notice in most pop songs, which is that as they move along, they alternate between sections that are ambiguous in nature and sections that are much clearer and easy to understand. I like using the terms “fragile” and “strong”: In many songs, that “fragile-strong” labelling is synonymous with “verse-chorus” structure. […]

Peter Gabriel - Games Without Frontiers

Coming Up With Creatively Predictable Chord Progressions

A chord progression is the one element that doesn’t overly hurt a song if it’s predictable. Creative songs are still being written using the tried-and-true I-IV-V-I progression. It’s the uniqueness of the melody and lyrics (and all the related bits such as phrasing, rhythm. etc.) that really matter. Having said that, there’s something nice about […]

Making Best Use of a “Fragile” Songwriting Idea

To describe a musical idea as “fragile” means that there is a certain measure of ambiguity. I like to use the term especially when describing chord progressions. A fragile progression is one in which any of the following are true: The chords do not strongly indicate the key. For example, moving back and forth from Am […]

Singer - songwriter at the piano

How to Avoid Getting Locked Into a Predictable Songwriting Style

Every songwriter has a style. If you’re a well-known writer, that style may be part of what makes your new song immediately identifiable to your listeners, even before they hear that you’re the one who’s written it. More often than not, however, a song’s style of performance is what will give the song’s authorship away, not […]